Wednesday, April 20, 2011

20 cities to avoid - or not? has put together an interesting slide show of 20 cities you don't want to live in ... yet.
With each are a few paragraphs about that city's problems and its good points, too. Not surprisingly, Detroit tops the list. Flint, Mich., is on there, too. And Fresno and Stockton, Calif., as well as Jackson, Miss., Little Rock, Ark., and Birmingham, Ala.

But I started looking at the unemployment rates listed with each of the so-called loser cities – and I don't think they're loser cities, but certainly troubled ones in many cases. The Charlotte regional jobless rate tops those of Cleveland, Buffalo, St. Louis, and possibly even Detroit. The blurb just said Detroit is "above 10 percent." As is this region's jobless rate: 10.7 percent in February. Mecklenburg's rate in February was 10.2 percent. Hmmm - unemployment worse than Detroit? That would not be a Charlotte Chamber slogan you'll be seeing anytime soon. Though it does portend sinking pay and desperate workers, which might attract some jobs ...

Seriously, it's a quick and interesting snapshot – based on someone's set of criteria – of some cities. As the article quotes Bert Sperling of saying, in many cases young urban pioneers are moving back into the distressed cities such as Detroit, Cleveland and New Orleans, attracted by the housing prices and urban opportunities.

(Naked City is taking another long weekend break. I'll be speaking Thursday in Beaufort, S.C., at 6:30 p.m. at the Technical College of the Lowcountry, 921 Ribault Road. The lecture's free and open to the public so if you're in that neighborhood, come on by. Sponsors are the Beaufort chapter of CNU Carolinas, the City of Beaufort, and Brown Design Studio.)


Ghoul said...

Detroit's unemployment would be much higher, but many have moved away, leaving whole neighborhoods empty and blighted. It has lost 25% of its population since 2000, and that does not count the dozens of suburbs that surround the city.

This is what happens when liberals rule for too long, their policies are unsustainable.

Anonymous said...

give me Charlotte over just about every city of this list any day of the week...most of them are either too cold (i.e. Detroit, Buffalo), too hot (i.e. Birmingham, Jackson), in California (I prefer winter, spring, summer and fall to windy, wildfires, earthquakes and mudslides) or in Ohio (it just sucks)

Anonymous said...

Ghoul says the city has lost 25% of it's population since 2000 because of liberal rule? So in the time period of 2000 - 2009, who was in the "rule." for 8 of those 10 years? Lol....yea, they don't get any more liberal than "W" himself. So, I hearby stand here, next to Ghoul, and demand that George W. Bush be elected again, so our country may once again fluorish and grow!

Wiley Coyote said...

I'll be in 2 of the 20 next week.

Stockton is a pretty nice place.

You can keep Oakland.

Anonymous said...

Yahoo! News just reported Charlotte among the top 5 "comeback" cities in the country.

Mary Newsom said...

Anonymous 3:29 - Thanks for the tip. Here's a link to the Yahoo piece, based on a Kiplinger report:

Turns out Flint, Mich., is on that same comeback cities list. As is Chattanooga. So ... should Charlotte be flattered or scared to be on that list?

Bréanainn Séaghdha said...

I think it is funny how almost all of the cities were listed as high unemployment, crime, and obesity. (I can hear a new version of "Ain't that America" playing in my head...)

Detroit is purely a result of an industry that was too myopic to adapt to a dynamic marketplace. It's what happens when businesses think they can keep doing things the way they've always done them and still generate revenue.

Progress leads to profits.

Anonymous said...

Anon 3:27, it's obvious that Ghoul was refering to the local political establishment in Detroit who has employed liberal views and social justice policies for years and this is where it got them.

Anonymous said...

I grew up in the Detroit area. In Detroit proper the unemployment rate is estimated to be about 40%. The city has a lower population today than it did in the year 1900. Tens of thousands of homes sit abandoned in various stages of rot and decay.... stripped of fixtures, plumbing, wiring and any other salvageable scrap. There's not a single grocery store located in the city of Detroit. If you don't have transportation to the suburbs you are forced to shop the small markets.

Detroit died from a self-inflicted wound. Mayor "for life" Coleman Young was the guy who pulled the trigger.

J. Patrick Terry said...

St. Louis... just like Compton!

Wiley Coyote said...

Anon 3:27...

Since 1962 there have been 7 Democrat mayors and NO Republican mayors.

From 2003 until 2011, Michigan had a Democrat governor.

I would say Ghoul is correct.

Anonymous said...

That goofy Yahoo article says Charlotte and Flint have the same exact population: 1,641,257.

Anonymous said...

I lived in Detroit, not the suburbs, but in the city limits. I felt safer in Viet Nam in 1967.

Larry said...

Strange how the lack of extensive Public rail Transportation seems to be a common thread to denigrate these cities in this sources eye making them almost unlivable, almost as if that expensive rail is the only way.

One could also do a correlation between the race factor and find fault with these ranking as well.

But then again it is just a silly story and we have our own problems here in Charlotte which I refer to with my own slogan:

Charlotte: Remnants of a Great Place to Live.

Anonymous said...

//There's not a single grocery store located in the city of Detroit//

Guess the one I passed going home last night (or the one I pass coming in from the freeway) was just a librul illusion, huh?

Anonymous said...

With the current politicians running this country, the whole country will look like Detroit in a few years. And yes I mean both parties. They are basically the same party. It's not left vs right, but the STATE VS YOU!

keetz4 said...


Who killed the auto industry which, in turn, decimated Detroit and a few other cities in the Midwest? That would be wingers. The same wingers who devastated the country from 2000 to 2008.

Anonymous said...

Charlotte tops the list to me, I would take the wasteland of Detroit over this wanna be pandering piece of slime.

Phil Kabza said...

It's easy but ill informed to point a finger at an individual and say "he/she's to blame for ______. George Bush. Coleman Young. Barack Obama. The truth is, our society and cities and economy are immensely complex and affected by many factors. Start with US automakers and unions who together marched over a cliff in the 1970s. Add the Arab oil embargo, the good sense of Japanese automakers to embrace US quality engineer W. Edwards Deming's genius. Mix in some racism, some corruption, misguided urban renewal, and the rush to the suburbs, and you have ... Detroit. Something like it could happen in Charlotte - just sell BOA, mix in some Beazer Homes, a couple more years of drought, and things could get ugly. But it won't be simple.

consultant said...

Most of these "lists" aren't worth much.

Having said that, I've been to all of the listed cities except Jackson, Ms. With the exception of New Orleans, all of them were pretty dead places. Some of them have recently changed, becoming more lively places, but for the most part they're still pretty much dead.


No mystery here. Over the last 50 years we've hollowed out our cities, big and small, first to serve the car and then to get those "low, low prices" at Walmart.

We destroyed our cities and towns by shipping jobs overseas just so we could get some plastic bull$#!^ for a dollar cheaper. We destroyed the viability of our neighborhoods by making all of us slaves to cars and the roads they must travel on, all at costs that are crushing us (ie. two "wars" in the mideast that bankrupted us).

As one writer put it, American cities and towns look like WW II was fought here instead of in Europe.

consultant said...

You're crazy. I'm sorry, but you need to take the Palin poster down, clean up, and replace it with your new boy toy, Trump.

Anonymous, 03:22:00 PM
I agree. You ever been in Stockton, Ca in the summer? Why do people live there?

Wiley Coyote,
See above.

Anonymous, 03:29:00 PM
Whoopee!!!! Truth alert. Don't trust anything from Yahoo News.

Bréanainn Séaghdha,
I agree. Apple seems to be the only company innovating in America.

Anonymous, 03:40:00 PM
Detroit was dead before Mayor Young took over. You've got to understand we Americans have created a culture that is unsustainable, and it is killing us.

Those Japanese Fukishima nuclear plants were designed by American companies.

Talk about Detroit, what about Jacksonville, Fl.? We could add another 30 or more cities to this list.

J. Patrick Terry,
Don't pick on St. Louis. I like the Cardinals. But you're right.

Anonymous, 04:29:00 PM
Why so mean?

I couldn't quite understand what you wrote, but I think there was something in there that might be interesting. Elaborate on the point you wanted to make.

You said it!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous, 10:40:00 PM
Wow! That's cold.

Phil Kabza,
You neatly summarized many of the causes of our decline.

Have a good one.

Ghoul said...

keetz4 said...


Who killed the auto industry which, in turn, decimated Detroit and a few other cities in the Midwest? That would be wingers. The same wingers who devastated the country from 2000 to 2008.
4/20/2011 10:07:00 PM

That would be the unions that destroyed the US auto industry.

Anonymous said...


If "wingers" (nice ad hominem - glad Mary's still holding liberals to a lower standard, sort of like grading on a curve for the slow children) killed the auto industry, why are the plants in non-union states like SC and KY and TN doing just fine?


Trump is a creation of the media. Remember when Howard Stern was going to run for governor of NY? Same deal with Trump. Ask yourself why the media aren't covering *serious* candidates like former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson?

consultant said...


Gary who?

Anonymous said...


You make my point for me. You are like Oliver Twist, queuing meekly up to the gruel line and taking a spoon of whatever the media will hand you (Trump, Bachmann, Palin, and the other media-approved candidates).

Gary Johnson won the governorship of New Mexico (majority-Democrat registration) twice, and never raised taxes in eight years; cut over 1,200 government jobs without firing anyone; cut taxes 14 times; vetoed over 750 bills (only two of which were overridden); and turned the budget deficit he inherited into a surplus when he left.

But back to Donald Trump's hair...